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OF SUMMER (1)

Saturday night while Mr. Omar Mateen murdered our kinds in Orlando we were partying again in Zaria, an ancient major city in the North of Nigeria. Reuben’s birthday party. He’s 23 and gay and a university student.

As always we were hiding, this time in a small flat. Overcrowded. Most of us in there were gays, lesbians and whatever. Once in awhile we meet this way, low-key and underground, away from the society outside that is so obsessed with imagining what and how we do with our ‘fuck organs,’ in our bedrooms. Sometimes, this shit wants you to hit your head on the wall. But we are no assholes. Rather than bother about how Jesus and Mohammed want us killed and burnt in hell we take to this gathering. Books, music, poetry, movies, convo, dance, fucking, lusts, smooching. We try to always be unnoticed. Too scared to come out to family, we come out to ourselves. This way. We have a club, loosely run, robust, energetic, smart, and bold. We don’t give a fuck about how we desire to fuck. We have our fuck organs, you have yours.

Before rainy season, Zaria is always dry and hot like fuck. In the rainy season, it is wet and wild and muddy and red. In harmattan, it is windy and dusty and ‘rolling.’ The most visible feature of this old city are it’s mosques, plenty, loud, sturdy, beautiful and busy. Zaria seems to be coolest city to be a secret gay man. You are always worried of being found out and so, become smart and inventive. There are many small hideouts for parties, fucking, music, and alcohol. Hideouts, because Zaria is a HOLY city in which all these are…

Mr. Mateen’s terror deserves whatever attention it is getting. 50 souls are gone, more wounded bodies in hospital wards. It deserves to be talked about. But here is the problem, this attack could have been carried out against us here in Zaria. And it would have been fucking worse:

  1. The house we were in is a few houses away from a mosque, the day before there was a fierce sermon against homosexuality. The preacher was apparently irritated.
  1. Unlike in Orlando, being a gay person in Zaria is legally forbidden and demonized. Thus we would have been murdered for two crimes, for being gay and for breaking a law that forbids such a gathering.
  1. The terrorist, Mr. Omar Mateen would have killed more people. We were more than a hundred people even though not everyone in attendance was gay. He would have effortlessly murdered all of us. No police team would have come to our rescue. No mayor would have addressed the media in our honor. No fundraising would have been organized for us. No vigil. No whatever because we are some fucking black idiots with QUEER desires, because we are some black assholes with STRANGE urge to do shit with their fuck organs. In fact, the terrorist would have become a national hero the next moment.

There are many Omar Mateens, in Nigeria, UK, the US, Brazil, Pakistan, and everywhere else. In governments, sports, entertainment, media, education, politics. These terrorists terrorize us with the laws they put against us. They massacre us on a daily routine with the cruelty of their “actions and inactions”. Mr. Omar was just a small sample of the enormous hatred the world holds against us.

Here is our fear. When an Omar catches us one day in a house so overcrowded, at night, near a mosque in a gay hostile city, and he decides to shoot the fuck out of us, who will, knowing that we are gay, battle him? Who will try to rescue us? Who will hold a press conference in our honor? Who will organize fundraisers and vigil and blood donations?

 

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Pwaangulongii Dauod is a writer.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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